Fall Striped Bass: Soft Plastic Jerk Bait
Soft Plastic Jerk Bait
Fishing a 5 to 9 inch jerk bait on a weighted swim bait hook is one of my favorite techniques when targeting striped bass. I have gotten some of my most bone jarring strikes on this lure. My basic rig is a 7 to 7 1/2 foot fast action spinning rod rated for 1/4 to 3/4 ounce lures. I use a 4000 size spinning reel filled with one of the new sinking braids like 20 pound test SpiderWire Fluorobraid. I like the sinking braid because I’m trying to get a lure and weighted hook to the bottom that weighs between 1/2 and 3/4 ounces. I tie on 4 feet of 30 pound Fluorocarbon leader with a uni to uni knot and tie the swim bait hook on with a loop knot.
My favorite way to fish this rig is to drift through the bridges. I will head up tide of the bridge drop the rig to the bottom and drift under the bridge. While drifting under the bridge I will snap the rig 2 or 3 feet from the bottom and let it flutter back down to bottom. I will continue working it like that until the line scopes out to 45 degrees and I will reel it in and start over. To the striped bass it appears to be a dying fish or a fish that is struggling with the current. Most strikes occur when the bait is fluttering down and at the bridges shadow line. I guess that several fish may be competing for this bait because I get some of the most vicious strikes while using this technique. I will use this same technique when I fish some of the deeper holes in the bay.
I also use this rig to cast to the marsh banks. I will cast to the marsh bank let the bait flutter to the bottom. I will work it back to the boat with a jerk, jerk, jerk, pause let it sink a little and than repeat those steps until the bait is back to the boat. Like jigging the rig under the bridge most of your strikes will come when you pause and let the bait sink.
Another way I like to use this rig is when I see the stripers feeding at the surface. I will cast the rig off to the side of the feeding fish and let it sink a foot or two and work it back to the boat with a walk the dog motion.
I use white soft plastics most of the time but I will use chartreuse or pink when the water is heavily stained or on cloudy days. I like to use the D.O.A. C.A.L. 5 inch jerk shad, Berkley Gulp Alive 7 inch jerk shad and the Hogy 9 inch Skinny Baits. I always have a rod rigged up like this on my boat.
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